Sunday, December 16, 2012

My New Studio

Welcome to my new studio, located inside Railroad Square Art Park. I share my workspace with Valerie Goodwin, who makes studio art quilts. You'll see some of her work in these photos.

2012 has been an extremely unusual year. First of all, my father grew ill early in the year and ultimately passed away in October. Immediately after that, my husband argued a case in the U.S. Supreme Court and I drove through the back end of Hurricane Sandy to be with him in Washington, DC, on that important occasion. In the midst of all of this, I made jewelry and moved into my new studio.

This first photo is one view of my metalsmithing space. You'll see other views of it soon. This is the most spacious studio I've ever, ever had, and I love working in it. It has high ceilings and natural light. This is about half the space that I claim for my business, while Valerie has this much space again.

Another view of my metalsmithing area. Here you see several of my workbenches. To the left is my 'hammer station,' where I forge, dap, stamp, and otherwise shape metal with my hammers.

I am on a quest for an affordable large 'live' anvil. When it appears to me, I will add an island for it in the center of this space.

Across the wall is my butcher block and attached rolling mill, my 'dirty' station where I grind/polish/saw/drill metal. It is the home of my Foredom rotary tool, a small drill press and various Dremels. My jeweler's saws dangle from a drawer knob. To the right of this is my solder station, where I work with my torch to solder, anneal, patina, and melt metal. In the foreground to the right are two work tables that allow me to dream, design, assemble jewelry and set stones.

I have set up my art show booth pedestals as a display area, where I show my available pieces. In this pic, you are looking through my display to Valerie's art quilts, on the wall.

Valerie is well known in the art quilt and 'personal cartography' world and her quilts use traditional quilting techniques to produce maps of real and imagined places.

We don't usually run our studio as a shop, but during the holidays we host several special events. Customers can contact us for appointments, to see and buy our work. 

A view of Valerie's sewing area. She also has natural light and a wonderful large work table for designing and laying out her quilts.

Our studio is a great work space for us! We have enough elbow room to be organized and efficient in our work. We both also have a lot of other responsibilities in the world. We are moms of mostly grown sons, we are wives, and we take care of our elderly mothers. In addition to that, Valerie is a professor in Florida A&M's School of Architecture and Engineering, and is an architect herself! You can see more of Valerie's work on her Facebook fan page: .

How our front door looks today, before our carpenter returns to paint the steps, door and banisters. We'll be getting new signage soon, too. Our red 'barn' doors slide in front of the glass doors when we're not there.

It's a great space and we're so happy to be set up at last.

You can see my latest work in my Etsy shop, by clicking on the moving link on this blog page, or by visiting my Facebook fan page: 
Early in the new year, I plan to really hammer on (no kidding!) a lot of new work. And to update and upgrade my Etsy shop. I'd  meant to do that this year, but family events pulled me away. 2013 might be a quieter year. I'm hoping so! I have a lot of ideas that I want to act on. 

My friend, Gretchen Hein will be my assistant/apprentice and I will trade instruction to her for help with jewelry tasks. This should be a fun new excursion!

And I am taking on a few one-on-one students in my studio now and then. (I encourage beginners to contact Florida Society of Goldsmiths, Northwest Chapter for metalsmithing courses before coming to me. FSG/NW is an amazing teaching studio that is fully equipped and they provide excellent instruction in the metal arts.) Their FB fan page:  

I'm happy to report that metalsmithing and art jewelry are alive and well in Tallahassee. And that much of our work is available on a global scale via Etsy and other aggregate sites. And I'm delighted to get back to work! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Late-Summer Green

Late summer arrives in this forested north Florida city and we are a riot of green everywhere you look!

I know some parts of the U.S. are drought-ridden. I know other parts see autumn leaves beginning to color.

But here in Tallahassee, we've been drenched in summer squalls and tropical storms all summer and our rainforest is a riot of green. I think I can see every hue through my little window to my back yard.

Always influenced by environment, I have responded with several pieces that capture those delicious shades, my favorite colors when I'm not staying earthy/neutral!

Two recent pairs of green stone cabochon earrings in my
Etsy shop: (top) Green triangular druzies with black
speckles. Called 'Kiwi' for obvious reasons, they are a
refreshing shade of green. Details in my Etsy shop.

(bottom) Pyromorphite triangle cabochon earrings in a
great acid-green shade. Rugged and rustic and earthy
as all get-out. Details for these are also in my Etsy

The Weather Channel promises more rain
and cooler weather soon. But it is our
climate's nature to be warm for at least
another month. So this cool spell will be
an anomaly. But a welcomed one!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Marching Toward 60...

Next March I will turn 60. And while this is certainly a milepost for anyone, for a working artist it calls some of the Big Questions back into consciousness. Many working in other fields are reaching retirement. I am just starting to get good at what I do.

One of my core writers, Dorris Lessing, said: "We are always surprised to find ourselves old."

She felt the human spirit was meant to live about 250-300 years, but that our bodies wane and then die when we're less than 100. We leave in our childhoods, according to her way of thinking.

And so, as the big '6 0' approaches, I still feel quite young and giddy, trying to figure things out.

I certainly haven't said all I've come to say in metal jewelry. Heck, I'm just recovering from raising two sons and getting used to the balancing act between work and family.

Right now, my work is about bringing my original doodlings to 'life' in metal and stone. And in merging my life's philosophy with what I make. And pushing my design skills to reflect what I know about shape, line, color, texture, and the alchemy that is metalsmithing.

So one of my Big Questions is: Do I commit even more fully to this path, or dial it back a bit? 

Another one: Do I move from my tiny home studio to a larger and more professional (commercial, ventilated) space to illustrate my commitment, or keep it at home where it's convenient and cheap?

I want to make one-of-a-kind work and explore my idea of art pieces that happen to be wearable jewelry. And to explore the metaphors one bumps into when caring for grown children, a professional husband, elderly parents -- as well as listening to and caring for oneself.


Sixty feels like such a jumping-off point. Do I stay or do I go? How much more time does one have to be strong? 

This is certainly what I want to do with my life.

Two new one-of-a-kind metal pendants from my studio this week!  Top: Copper and sterling silver, with Ruby-in-Fuschite (in a rare yellowish-green). Bottom: Repoussee jeweler's brass blossom with sterling silver center and brass stem.

Today, when I was thinking about women and jewelry and design, I came upon the following video. It is an interview with Nancy Worden, a fine artist who makes metal jewelry. Listening to her expanded my mind far more than any jewelry-as-mere-fashion-accessory ever will!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


My husband can tell you I often walk around muttering something about 'getting my act together.' He laughs and asks, "Yeah? When is that going to happen?"

He and I both know -- in truth -- that I have my act very together. But it never feels like I do.

Which is why I am reminded of that old adage that "feelings aren't always a reliable guide to action." Instead, clear thinking, imagination and resourcefulness must guide the way.

I write about my life as a woman 'of a certain age,' as well as about my art and creativity and my connection to other artists, because I hope that my life can be a small example of a vital female life that adventures on, despite the responsibilities of raising children, being a wife, caring for elderly parents at the ends of their lives, and, finally, being a studio artist and owner of a small art business.

Always seeking balance in all of this, I bootstrap myself along, somehow finding the energy to reinvent myself not just once or twice, but instead hundreds of times, its seems. I try to not define this as 'failure.' I hang onto the consistency and continuity that is me, in whatever stage of life I find myself in.
Life is an adventure, and existence is a gift. However confusing or painful, however many times one seemingly must start again, it is worth it.

Tonight, as I write this, I am reminded of what my dear father-in-law believed and often said: "Take care of what is yours." I have been hearing that in my mind today. I find my breaths growing deeper. I find myself starting to discern, again, what it is that is mine, and what is not.

And I know, again, that when I fully inhabit what is mine, I feel alive and ideas become unbottled and start to flow. And balance returns.

These are new pieces... a Painting Jasper pendant, embossed craft brass tab earrings and hand-wrought bronze leaf earrings. All are available in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Few New Pieces...

I've had the tiniest amount of time to make some new things, shoot their pics, list them in my Etsy shop, and bring them to this blog.

Earrings and pendants hold my interest these days. I know I'll move on to some other things once I've had my fill of making small statement pieces for the ears and neckline.

Embossed copper disk earrings dangle from handmade sterling silver earwires. Find them in my Etsy shop or in the scroll over on the right side of this blog page! 

I always have many more ideas than I can execute! So I was delighted one day recently when some of my drawings turned into finished pieces.

Blossom Jasper pendant set in fine silver onto patina'd copper, with sterling silver wirework.

I love freeform shapes and mottled surfaces. Jasper cabochons so often inspire me. 

My goal, when I design and fabricate, is to create modern 'relics.' I always imagine someone rifling through an old jewelry box or scuffing through fallen leaves and unearthing my pieces.

It hardly matters which. The metals and stones are of the earth and my design is usually organic. 

Oval green Imperial Jasper from Madagascar, set in fine silver onto oxidized bronze, with recycled sterling silver 'pebbles.' The cut of the stone is so formal, an oval, but its graphics are abstract. I cut the bronze backplate to resemble a peninsula of land with geographic features.

Here's the link to my whole Etsy shop! 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fun, Funky, Chic... another fashion collage!

I think that every artist/designer ultimately settles into a signature look and designs from a point of view.

I love mixing my botanical/urban jewelry with interesting clothing design. I see clothing as an interesting but discreet canvas upon which to wear art jewelry!

Jewelry featured here is from my exploration of botanical jewelry in bronze. The necklace is a collaboration of bronze/sterling metalsmithing and chain maille construction. I created the leaves and sent them to Australia, where Kelly Clitheroe of Maille Fantasy created the baeckea blossoms and other maille links and designed the necklace.

Minimalist, pitted bronze leaf earrings and a hand-knotted abalone chip bracelet complete this funky, elegant look. These can be worn by women of all ages, especially if they are young at heart and adventurous!

The clothing pieces I've selected for this collage are by the Australian company, TS14+. What I love about them is that they design clothing for rounder, curvier women, and do it well.

The shoes are by TS14+, also.

The jewelry is available in my Etsy shop!

The necklace:

The earrings:

The bracelet:

Maille Fantasy/Kelly Clitheroe on Facebook:

TS14+ on Facebook:

City/Rustic Jewelry (Tana McLane) on Facebook:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Context... how my work works with fashion

I love this dress and that handbag and those sandals and how my handcrafted jewelry goes so well with them!

I live in a place where it's hot in summer, and this combo is the perfect answer to our sultry season. Cool, comfortable and casually elegant.

The dress: Embroidered Renaissance Boho Sundress by HolyClothing.

The sandals: Black sole/lace with stone rings by Dikasa Shoes.

The handbag: The Sac Casual Classics Crossbody Bag

Pendant, earrings and stacking bangle bracelet are mine and are available in my Etsy shop, along with many more!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Birds of a Feather... 3 puzzle-makers

I love combining things that look interesting or pretty together. I also love bringing friends I love together. Perhaps this is the old gallery owner or community activist in me.

Here, I've created a mini-collage with the works of two of my great art jewelry compatriots, Kelly Clitheroe and Sharri Moroshok.

Kelly owns Maille Fantasy and lives and works in Geelong, Australia. I've collaborated with her on our Eucalyptus Leaf/Baeckea Blossom Necklace in the past.

Sharri owns The Beaded Bead and lives and works in Tallahassee, FL, USA. She and I owned Humidity Gallery together and have also collaborated on many jewelry designs in the past.

Kelly's "Lepidoptera Earrings" demonstrate how chain maille jewelry can experience flights of fancy and become sculptural elements, hanging in space like tiny mobiles. Sharri's "Sea Anemone" beaded bead demonstrates how multiple gemstone beads can be woven into a single, complex jewel. My "Copper Assemblage" is a fold-formed copper blossom pendant which demonstrates the knitting together of individual fold-formed parts into a single sculptural element.

We all love creating complex forms that seem simple when you first encounter them, but reveal the complicated little parts and processes they are comprised of, upon closer inspection.  Nothing makes us happier than solving puzzles on our way to making wearable art.

Kelly's Facebook fan page:
Sharri's Facebook fan page:
My Facebook fan page:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Featured Friend: Debbie Fang's whimsical work!

I adore the works of Debbie Fang, whose innovations in metals, stones and pearls never cease to amaze.

She lives in Hong Kong, a land where many of the world's great gemstones are faceted and drilled and made ready for market.

Her playful eye and skillful hands produce colorful, rustic and delightful pieces. Debbie's fun-loving personality shines in everything she does.

Her botanical forms derive from the stones themselves. In a clever version of wire-wrapping, she creates stone blossoms by surrounding a larger central gemstone with smaller stones. This pair sees larger faceted labradorites surrounded by rough diamonds.

She makes blossom earrings in different stone combinations, too.

I love these hoop earrings, encrusted with pretty gemstone rondelles! These, and all of her works here, are available in her Etsy shop, Crysallis Creations:

Occasionally, her works are large and complex, revealing the daring wirewrapper and designer she is.

This piece features a large, carved piece of Lavender Jadeite captured in sterling wire. It also features Moss Aquamarine and Watermelon Tourmaline. It's approx. 4.75" from top to bottom and comes with an adjustable chain.

This is its listing in her shop:

She repeats her stone flower motif in charms sometimes. This lovely orange blossom adorns a sterling silver chain anklet.

Its central stone is a faceted Citrine. Surrounding it are smaller faceted Orange Sapphires!

One day Debbie posted that she'd created 'light bulb earrings.' I had to see what she meant and, sure enough, she had!

The 'light bulb' itself is clear Rock Crystal Quartz and multiple faceted gemstones are captured in the mesh cap. The metal is oxidized sterling. You can read more details:

Debbie is moving in a new direction. She has begun her 'drawn line series,' and these Shooting Star Earrings are a great example!

Featuring Rainbow Moonstones and Blue Topaz, these earrings express light, movement and the love of life that is the signature of this wonderful artist.

She also has a Facebook fan page, Crysallis Creations Jewelry:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Circle Game... Some Recent Bracelets!

Lately, I've been on a bracelet kick. Bangles, cuffs, hand-knotted and hand-linked. And I've been listing them in my Etsy shop:

This one mixes textured copper stock with forging and wirewrapping, with a subtle trapezoid caged in the wrapping.

Bangles are always popular, and I love to make them funky. So I add bits of embellishment to classic forms.

This patterened sterling bangle has a bit of copper wirewrapping.

Stacking bangles are fun to add to a growing collection, or can be worn alone.

This one is a slender textured copper bracelet with a hand-forged blossom made with recycled sterling. The blossom's face is stamped with my chasing tools.

This one has a sister with a recycled bronze blossom, which you can see in the Etsy link (above).

I've long worked with hand-knotted stone beads. Though I've been disciplining myself to just work in metals recently, a large portion of my work has been rustic compositions and beadwork.

This is an abalone chip bracelet hand-knotted like the finest pearls. One of its dangles is a heart-shaped slice of abalone and the other is a seashell-shaped Thai Hill Tribe sterling bead.

I also love wire bending and linking elements together in this way.

This bracelet is a little collection of interesting labradorite beads in different shapes and hues and finishes.  Some are faceted.

I used sterling wire and twisted-wire jumprings to link the stones together, and a wrapped dangle to finish this piece.

I also love asymmetrical, eclectic work and had a lot of fun creating this bracelet.

And the final bracelet I want to share with you today is actually a cuff!

Made with copper stock textured on my rolling mill, it's adorned with a sterling silver dish that was also textured on my rolling mill.

The copper remains malleable enough that you can squeeze it a bit to form a good fit to your wrist.

All of these bracelets are currently in my Etsy shop and I hope you'll visit there to see all the details!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Featured Friend: Louise O'Dwyer, of Ireland

One of the things I love best about living in the electronic communications age is the sense of community it fosters all across the globe.

Nowhere is this truer for me than with the accomplished metalsmiths and jewelry designers who are my colleagues and friends.

One such designer/friend is Louise O'Dwyer, of New Ross, Wexford, Ireland, who owns a farm with her husband. There they raise their children and animals and grow wheat and other cereals. And there Louise creates intricate, beautiful jewelry.

Working in sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones, Louise constructs pendants, earrings and other pieces with appliques of blossoms and petals surrounding beautiful set stones.

Her personal language intrigues me. I love her compositions and the execution of her designs. I want to wear her pieces, as she reveals each new work. And I want to absorb her life lessons and learn something from her. I want to live on a farm!
Take a look at these gorgeous pieces! They can be found in her Etsy shop, on Flickr, and in her blog.

Her Flickr link:

Her Etsy shop:

And her blog:  

I hope you've enjoyed this look at Louise's work and that you visit her links. Many of her items are one-of-a-kind, so if you see them offered in her online shop, snap them up!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dreaming in Purple...

It's been said that all of the Tiffany Stone on earth comes out of one small spot in Utah, a mine once owned by the Tiffany jewelry company, which bequeathed its name and then retreated.

Today that mine is owned by the U.S. government or military and nearly 100% of this beautiful stone is crushed for one of its inherent elements. And that this element is used to coat the nosecones of military planes or missiles.

I say, 'Phooey.' Put away the war toys and release this gorgeous, rare semi-precious gemstone to art jewelers who can make the world a more beautiful place!

Bearing several different names: Porcelain Jasper and Exotica Jasper, along with Tiffany Stone, its proper name is Bertrandite. The purple versions are grape and snow eye candy. The black dendrites are graphic markings in an alien language.

I happened upon a stonecutter who collected the Tiffany Stones in my work nearly 30 years ago. When I first spotted them, I was stunned by their size, beauty and shapes.

Five weeks ago, I was spending nearly all my time in my studio, preparing for the then-upcoming Magic City Art Connection in Birmingham, AL. These pendants were produced during that wave of creativity and production.

Then my father suffered a heart attack and stroke and I was in a quandry about whether to go to the show (for which I'd been preparing for most of a year), or stay home.

As difficult as it was to do, I wrenched myself away from home and did the show. I was well aware of the gamble this was, re: my father. And I am glad I won the bet: That he would be here when I returned.

Win/win...  Dad survived and got better and I had a good show. Ever since I got back, I've pitched in on the care of both parents and organized a big family reunion. Mom and Dad are clearly in a transitional moment in life and my sister and I are jumping through all the daughter hoops one does at this point in elderly parents' lives.

Meanwhile, I'm dreaming of more studio time and maybe I'll get some again soon.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a stay-home day for me and my fingers are itching to put some new things together.

Until now, I haven't even had time to do more than snap a few pics at my computer desk and post them on Facebook. So only one of these three pendants is listed in my Etsy shop so far (the top one), but I have high hopes of listing more there soon!

It feels so good to think about metalsmithing and my Etsy shop and Facebook fan page again, if only for a little while! God willing, I'll do so a lot more soon.

Meanwhile, here's my beautiful family!

My father, age 87, in his Scottish tam and a twinkle in his eye, at our recent family reunion!

My son and husband...

And my sister and mother...

We never got a good shop of my stepson that night... nor of my brother-in-law, who's an important part of our family, too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

On My Way to 'Magic City!'

It's been awhile since I've posted here and Blogger, like everything else in GoogleWorld, is going through some changes. Which I'll be happy to learn, just on the other side of my Really Big Art Show in Birmingham, AL, next week.

Like so many other things, this must queue up with the rest of my life because the days left before I depart for the show belong to production, booth tweaking, organizing/packing, getting the van road-ready, planning my food for the weekend away and a million other things.

I've been too busy producing new works to even upload much to my Etsy shop. But I thought you might like a peek at a few things I've made.

Magic City  Art Connection is my all-time favorite art show. They just do everything right. Especially considering that it's an extremely urban show. Downtown in Linn Park, the art show is ringed with wonderful buildings including an historic library.

The show begins Friday, April 27, and runs through Sunday, April 29. I'll be in Booth #375, near the library.

Meanwhile? Back into the studio for me!

When I try to make more earrings, pendants keep popping out. I guess my Muse is living in the pendants-to-be right now!

Pictures here: (Top) Pendant: Senoran Dendritic Picture Rhyolite, triangular, set in fine silver bezel onto a bronze backplate with curved self-bail.

(Bottom) Earrings: Dendritic Landscape Jasper, triangular, set in fine silver on textured bronze backplates, with forged sterling bails and handmade sterling earwires.

Both are available in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Interesting Thing Happened on the Way Home from the Art Show...

Most of you know I’ve spent the weekend in Jacksonville, participating in an art show there. On my way home this evening, I was starving and out of my diet’s foods and decided that plain scrambled eggs would suit me for dinner. Spotting a Waffle House in Maclenny, slightly west of Jax, I pulled in, eager for my first non-veggie meal in two weeks.

Always trepidatious around corporate franchises’ ability to deliver healthy foods, I just hoped for non-greasy, salt-free eggs and perhaps some tomato slices (instead of all the carbs/salt/fats/sugars and caffeine Waffle House is known for).

When I pulled into  the restaurant’s parking lot, I noticed the plumpest Harley Davidson rider I’ve ever seen, just dismounting his bike and gathering things together to go in. I parked and rummaged around for the Mrs. Dash and garlic powder I’ve begun carrying with me. An excellent, fool-the-tongue mixture of salt-free condiments, I carried them to the door with me. Whereupon I found, waiting there the Harley gentleman holding the door open for me. I thanked him and rushed in, eager to find a table and eat. Having just done an arduous 2-day show on my cleanse diet, I was very hungry (and very tired of the pre-cooked meals I’d carried to my hotel with me, and of the salads I’d subsisted on for two whole days in the show – along with great antioxidant drinks, of course).

The waitress picked up two sets of flatware and napkins, as if the gentleman and I were going to share a table. Very quietly, I said, “Just me, just one here.” And she said, “Okay,” and handed me my flatware and took his to him at his own table. I sat my condiments on the table and then realized that I’d created a stir throughout the place. “Joy,” I thought… “Just what I need, to cause myself weird, negative attention in a small town.”

My experience everywhere with Waffle House is that it’s a pretty harsh, sterile environment where patrons pay no attention to one another, and the wait staff pretty much mirrors that behavior. One can relax in one’s isolation and anonymity, eat a cheap meal, and be on one’s way.

I ordered just scrambled eggs and slices of fresh tomato and unsweetened iced tea, explaining briefly that I was on an odd no-salt thing and could have only that. I got no guff from the waitress, nor attempt to make me order bacon or grits or hashbrowns of waffles. Just sweet agreement. She took my order and went back to fetch the cook. A couple in the next booth turned around to stare at me. I looked back and they broke into smiles. I smiled back and looked down.

The cook, an older woman, came out to cook and looked at me and said, “You brought you own condiments.” “Yes,” I said. “I’m on a salt-free thing, and I have to do this.” Whereupon she smiled and said, “I understand.” I’ll use fresh oil and no salt in your eggs,” and turned to cook up the fluffiest scrambled eggs I’ve ever seen.

I thought, “Wow… she’s good enough for the Food Network.” Others dining there looked at me and smiled. I began to realize that, in Maclenny, the Waffle House is the go-to cafĂ© on a Sunday night, and that the patrons and staff all knew each other. I’d fallen into a local scene, where eveyone knew each other’s names and churches, and were very comfortable with each other. I realized I’d been behaving like the odd outsider, expecting no one to be interested in me – or to even realize that I was just passing through.

As I opened up to this awareness that I’d entered into a community scene that was sweet and friendly and respectful – and tolerant of tourists ignorant of this reality – I began to realize how much I’ve internalized a big-city behavior of ignoring others and expecting to be ignored. And realized how they had just the right tone. Nothing preachy. Nothing pushy. Just happiness and comfort in being together. A sense of acceptance and serenity I’ve rarely known.

My platter of eggs and tomatoes arrived and I sprinkled said condiments on them and devoured them. I kept thinking about how nurturing this all was to me. Good food, not too expensive, cooked competently and healthfully… good company all around me. Lovely wait staff of three women doing their jobs elegantly and well.

“Okay,” I thought. “I get it.” Like one of those angel stories, or “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or something like that. A little tap on my consciousness to wake up and be alive in this situation and understand something about receiving nurture, just because I need it. A magical moment in this busy life, where I rush headlong from one activity to the next. It felt like a lot of wonderful oxygen got pumped into the room.

And the reality that sometimes, in some places, things are just so very right and people are just living without the usual neuroses and conflict – or indifference.

The combination of good food and this undeniable social dynamic eased my tension and got me ready for the road. I realized my bill had arrived and that, for all of this, the charge was only $5.75!

I thought to myself, “You’re kidding me.” Excellent food and all of this ‘angelic’ energy? No way.

I dug a twenty-dollar bill from my purse and went to pay the cashier. She took my twenty and meticulously counted my change back to me, twice! I thanked her and caught the cook’s eye and told her those were terrific eggs and that I’d be back whenever I was in the area. She just smiled.

And then I took all my change (just under $15.00) and laid it on my table for a tip. I dashed into the bathroom and when I came back by my table, the money was still there. I smiled to myself and thought, “Good, they haven’t noticed. Let me get out of here…”

I walked to my car and got in. And rummaged for my eyeglasses for a moment. When I got them on, I realized the waitress was standing at my window, holding the money. I rolled my window down and said, “I did it intentionally. It’s for you and the others.” She said, “We were worried that you’d made a mistake and not realized you’d paid with a twenty.” I said I’d done it for them and for her to take the money and divide it however they wanted. She looked at me for a moment and I said, “You’ll never know what you all gave to me tonight, and this is the least that I can do.” She smiled and walked back in. As I drove away, the cook waved out the window to me and I saw them huddle together to divide the money, with great smiles on their faces.

While a $20.00 egg meal was so cheap to me, I felt like I got about a million dollars’ worth of value for my money. And it looked like getting about $5.00 each was making a difference in their day. My money came from the privilege I have, of doing what I love and getting paid for it sometimes. Sometimes well. And being able to share the wealth a little bit along the way. Whenever I’m feeling a poverty of spirit or in my life, I must remember this meal in this Waffle House, with those lovely workers and patrons. However whiney or beat-up I feel from my hard work, I must remember that there’s enough resource in the world and that it can come from unexpected places.


I've illustrated this post with two new pieces I've made for my Etsy shop and spring art shows. The top one is my newest Trapezoid Necklace with copper and Imperial Jasper. The bottom piece is a trapezoid-shaped Charoite cabochon set onto textured bronze. You can learn more about then in my Etsy shop, by clicking my slide show link on the right.